1.1 GAYS AND LESBIANs RIGHTS/marriage
Gay Rights Movement in the United States, struggle for equal rights for homosexual men and women, known as gays and lesbians, in the United States. The basic goals of the gay rights movement are to win equal rights for homosexuals under city, state, and federal laws, as well as respect and recognition for gays as a natural group within society. It is the only population, and civil rights movement, to be identified on the basis of sexual orientation. Since everyone has the right to his or her opinion, these groups in question are requesting for their opinions to be questioned as long as they do not encroach into the rights of others. Gay should be allowed to make their choices for their social, family and emotional wellbeing.
1.3 problem definition
This problem is not only an issue of the Unites States but it does happen everywhere in the world though is less significant in other countries most especially in my country- Cameroon and my continent -Africa at large.
The modern gay and lesbian movement was not simply a tussle for rights. Most certainly, it entertained no desire to mimic straights or reproduce their language, such as calling one’s male partner ‘fiancé’ or ‘husband’. It was all about liberation, sexual liberation, liberation from traditional institutions like marriage, freedom from conventional gender roles and deliverance from heterosexism. Many gay and lesbian groups took great pride in proclaiming ‘gay liberation’. Ending equality was a stride towards that liberation, not an end in itself. When they walked the streets of Sydney, London and San Francisco and chanted slogans like “not the Church, not the State, we shall decide our fate” they knew full well what they were demanding. They were not asking the state to give its stamp of approval to their relationships. Yet at the end of the day, what they think of ‘gay marriage’ is immaterial. It all boils down to freedom of choice.
Studies repeatedly demonstrate that people who marry tend to be better off financially, psychologically, and even medically. Marriage is not universally an improvement (women, for example, can actually be worse off in some ways), but it generally is. Because of this, it stands to reason that legalized gay marriage will ultimately prove beneficial for gay individuals. This, in turn, will be better for gay couples, the families of gays, and communities where gays live.
Still, gay marriage is not and can never be a panacea to all our ills. After all, there are many partnered gay men and lesbians who want nothing to do with the institution of marriage, not to mention those who are not partnered. When it comes to gay and lesbian rights, Malta faces challenges that are more significant than gay marriage. Malta has no adequate protection against discrimination at work and in the areas of goods and services, accommodation, educational authorities, clubs, sport and local government.
Malta has no anti-vilification legislation. There are no educational programs at schools offering balanced information on sexual orientation and gender identities. Magistrates and judges continue to parade homophobic mind-sets as they go about reinforcing a status quo that is damaging to gay men and lesbians. Conservatives, including priests, peddle in hate on the pretext of freedom of expression, and they do so with impunity. Gay men and lesbians are not permitted to foster or adopt children on the pretext that it is not in their best interest. (Retrieved April 03 2013 from http://www.maltatoday.com)
Also, perhaps the most important aspect of marriage is that it establishes a legal and social relationship which makes it easier for people to “be there” for each other – economically, emotionally, and psychologically. Most of the rights and privileges that go with marriage are, in fact, ways to help spouses support each other. Married couples are thus much better off than unmarried couples, giving relationships the ability to grow stronger and deeper.
Barack Obama’s speech up lifting the ban of gays to work in public services like the military- “I appreciate that many of you don’t believe progress has come fast enough … Do not doubt the direction we are heading and the destination we will reach,” said Obama. “My expectation is that when you look back on these years, you will see a time in which we put a stop to discrimination against gays and lesbians, whether in the office or on the battlefield. You will see a time in which we as a nation finally recognize relationships between two men or two women as just as real and admirable as relationships between a man and a woman.”(13th annual national dinner of the Human Right Campaign in Washington.). He also said and I quote, “our journey is not complete until our gay brothers and sisters are treated like anyone else under the law. For if we are truly created equal, then surely the love we commit to one another must be equal as well” (13th annual national dinner for human rights campaign- Washington DC).
Thirdly, because gays can’t marry, it’s very difficult for partners to help each other in difficult situations like medical crises. The burden of support and decision-making typically falls in the laps of other family members when it should fall to one’s chosen life partner. If people know that they can rely upon their relative’s spouse, they can be far less anxious about what will happen to their loved one – not just in the context of a crisis, but in general, too.
Probably the most persuasive argument is the one claiming that the civil rights of same sex couples are being unfairly restricted by limiting the legal definition of marriage to the “one man, one woman” formula. While this argument does have a certain emotional appeal, it appears to be rather superficial. Indeed, this approach has sparked resistance and resentment among African Americans, the original beneficiaries of the Civil Rights Act of the 1960’s. Certainly, the later addition of “sexual orientation” to the classes legally protected from discrimination under the Act was a reflection, and a reinforcement, of the growing tolerance of diversity in America. (Retrieved April 03 2013 from http://www.renewamerica.com).
In 2001 the Netherlands became the first country to legalize same-sex marriages. The new Dutch law eliminated references to a person’s sex in the legal definition of marriage and granted same-sex married couples the same rights that heterosexual married couples have in areas such as inheritance, taxes, divorce, and pension benefits.
In 2003 Belgium legalized same-sex marriages. The Belgian law gave married homosexual couples most of the same rights as married heterosexual couples have, although it did not allow gay couples to adopt children. In 2005 Spain legalized same-sex marriages. The new law eliminated all legal distinctions between same-sex and heterosexual marriages, including the right to adopt children.
Canadian courts began legalizing gay marriage in a number of provinces in 2002. The courts ruled that a ban on same-sex marriage was unconstitutional because it violated the equal rights provisions of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. In July 2005 the Canadian government approved legislation making such unions legal throughout the country. Canada thus became the fourth country to allow gay marriage.
In late 2005 two other countries took steps to allow same-sex civil unions or gay marriage. In the United Kingdom a law allowing civil partnerships went into force in December 2005. The law gives same-sex couples in civil partnerships many of the same financial and legal benefits as married heterosexual couples enjoy.
In South Africa the Constitutional Court ruled in December 2005 that the country’s Marriage Act was unconstitutional because it did not include same-sex unions in the legal definition of marriage. The South African constitution then advocated for amendment.
Now finally in the United States of America gay rights have been approved and made a federal law by Obama during the 13th annual national dinner of the Human Right Campaign in Washington. With all these steps and actions taken by most many countries in the world today there is a need to allow gays and lesbian the rights to their opinion.